Radical Status-Reversal

Binding30 years in and Ched Myers’ Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus(1988) is more relevant than ever. This week’s commentary homes in on Mark 9:30-37.

They next reach the home in Capernaum. That the community would stop in here on its way south, specifically for instruction on internal matters of power and discipline, is significant, for Capernaum was the center of gravity for the first part of the Gospel (Mk 1:21; 2:1). It is here that Jesus really begins to unmask his disciples’ true aspirations to power. Not only do they not understand where Jesus is trying to lead them; they are headed full speed in the opposite direction. Mark contrives the episode for maximal irony: the disciples are caught debating who was greatest among them “on the way” (twice, 9:33b, 34a)! For Jesus’ response, Mark sets a familiar stage: the twelve are called (3:14; 4:10; 6:7; 10:32; 14:17) and Jesus takes his seat (4:1; 12:41; 13:3). The narrative signals: Pay attention to the teaching that follows! Continue reading

The Gangsterization of Our Politics

barberFrom William Barber’s recent comments in a Democracy Now interview:

Before all of the latest news, Judge Kavanaugh, first of all, was being put forward after McConnell in the Senate held open a seat for over 420 days, in a way that we had not seen since the Civil War. They literally denied a president his right to nominate someone and for them to have a hearing. This was the same Judiciary Committee that denied two African-American women a hearing to be appointed to the federal court, the 1st District—Eastern District in North Carolina. So the process was bad from the beginning. Continue reading

Why Did She Wait?

Ruby SalesAnother post from the front porch of Ruby Sales (September 17, 2018):

Republicans ask with hypocritical self righteousness that if Christine Ford’s allegation that charges Kavanaugh with sexual terrorism and attempted rape is true why did she wait thirty six years to go public?

She remained silent for the same reasons that thousands of women did not speak out. We lived in a White male patriarchy that blamed women and dismissed us as aggressive sexual predators and whores for sexual crimes against us. Sadly even women internalized this view and believed that we provoked men to commit these acts against us. Continue reading

Let’s Give It A Go

Kathleen Dean MooreOregon State Professor of Philosophy Kathleen Dean Moore was once asked, “Would you condone violence on behalf of the planet?” This was her response:

No, violence is what we are opposing. You can’t ever stop a behavior by engaging in it. Using violence only increases its power.

The reason nonviolent methods haven’t worked is because we haven’t really tried them yet. We haven’t tried massive protests and civil disobedience. We haven’t tried boycotts. We haven’t harnessed the power of the global religions. Somewhere near half of us don’t even vote. Here and there, sure, we’ve tried nonviolence, but not on the scale we need. Let’s give it a go. Continue reading

Inevitability

Binding30 years in and Ched Myers’ Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus (1988) is more relevant than ever. This week’s commentary homes in on Mark 8:27-38.

Mark will tell us that it was “necessary” for John/Elijah (Mk 9:12:f) to challenge the highest powers and be executed by them; so too with Jesus, for that is the “script” Yahweh has given to the servant/prophets, as Mark will make clear through his parable of the tenants. Continue reading

It’s Not Part of Our Vision

RamseyThanks to Detroit-based law student Cait De Mott Grady for passing along this profound interview Derrick Jensen did with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark way back in 2000. His reflections are more relevant than ever. This is an excerpt, but the entire interview deserves a read.

Jensen: So how do we maintain our national self-image as God’s gift to the world, the great bastion of democracy?

Clark: But we’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy: a government by the wealthy. Wealth has its way. The concentration of wealth and the division between rich and poor in the U.S. are unequaled anywhere. And think of whom we admire most: the Rockefellers and Morgans, the Bill Gateses and Donald Trumps. Would any moral person accumulate a billion dollars when there are 10 million infants dying of starvation every year? Is that the best thing you can find to do with your time? Continue reading

Wild Lectionary: Who do we say…

dear-tree-combo17th Sunday After Pentecost
Proper 19 (24)B
Mark 8:27-38

By Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie

The concrete and asphalt jungle of the Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill sections of Brooklyn are where I thought my heart and emotions were nourished. I thought my city dweller life and lifestyle defined me. It wasn’t until in I was in art therapy grieving the loss of several family members that I discovered the longing in my heart for nature’s spaces and places. Buildings, streets and other signs of city life were nowhere in my art works. Rather, they were of the sea, rocks, flora and fauna. It was self-discovery—a deeper look into who I am. Continue reading